WATCH: UAE grants presidential pardon to Briton sentenced to life for spying
The United Arab Emirates on Monday pardoned a British academic jailed for life on spying charges, granting his family's request for clemency minutes after showing a video of him confessing to being a member of Britain's intelligence agency MI6.
The UAE president issued a pardon as part of the country's National Day, effective immediately, according to a statement carried by state news agency WAM.
At a news conference on Monday in Abu Dhabi, Emirati officials showed the video of Mathew Hedges, a 31-year-old doctorate student in Middle Eastern studies at Durham University.
The video, which Emirati officials did not allow journalists to record, shows Hedges describing himself as a captain in MI-6 during what appears to be a court hearing in the Gulf Arab country.
Another clip appears to show Hedges speaking to someone in an office and saying: "It helps the research to go in in an easy way."
Then, Hedges is seen snapping his fingers and adds: "Then it becomes MI-6."
The video also showed Hedges saying he was looking into what military systems the UAE was buying.
Last Wednesday, a UAE Attorney General Hamad Al Shamsi said that "during questioning, Mr Hedges admitted to the claims against him, which were identical to evidence and information gained from his own electronic devices and investigations conducted by the UAE’s security agencies."
In a previous statement, the UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation had said: “We are proud to have a system of justice that gives everyone the right to a fair trial.
“Our system also takes care to protect the welfare and physical wellbeing of suspects. Mr Hedge’s has had access to medical and psychological care throughout. Members of his family and British Embassy staff were allowed to see him during the pre-trial phase."